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July 25, 2016

Come see a Google self-driving car up close and personal

By Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

I wrote earlier this year about Google’s decision to choose the City of Chandler as its next testing location for its self-driving car project. Google cars have been driving throughout the community as they map streets, neighborhood and alleys down to the inch. Now, residents have a chance to see the Google self-driving car up close.
On Saturday, August 13, the public can attend an open house to see the car, talk with members of the Google self-driving care team, and learn more about the tremendous potential that this technology can deliver. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Soho63, located in downtown Chandler at 63 E. Boston Street. For more information on the event, visit www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/chandler.
 
We feel Chandler is a great choice for Google as the company continues to test and develop this new technology. And it makes sense to begin their Arizona program here in Chandler, further cementing our reputation as the innovation and technology hub of the Southwest.
 
As I mentioned, the Lexus SUV test cars have already hit the streets of Chandler, creating a detailed map of our streets, so that they can gain more experience driving in desert conditions. Test drivers are still present in the cars, ensuring a safe environment and monitoring all of the data received by the cars’ detailed cameras, sensors and other equipment. It will be interesting to see how the technology responds to our summertime heat and the occasional monsoon.
 
I recently sat down with Jennifer Haroon who leads the project, to discuss all things Google for my Cable show, “Chandler Inside and Out”. You can stream the show from our website by going to chandleraz.gov/video. It is a fascinating look inside the company and what the future holds in terms of this exciting technology.
 
Testing will begin in Chandler and expand to other parts of the Phoenix metro area, making it the fourth location in the country to host the Google self-driving car testing program. Testing fleets are currently in Mountain View, Calif., Austin, Texas, and Kirkland, Wash. Austin and Chandler continue to share many traits. We each are home to a General Motors Innovation Center (just four are in existence), as well as TechShop.
 
In Chandler, Google joins a number of other cutting-edge technology companies like Intel, Garmin, Microchip, Orbital ATK and NXP – formerly Freescale Semiconductor.
Google’s choice to begin testing in Chandler is a solid one, and we look forward to being an integral part of this very exciting, emerging technology. I hope to see you August 13 at the open house!